Monday, June 18, 2007

Money doesn't grow on trees...

This summer has felt like one big reminder course in What I Believe. I never imagined that the transition between college and “real life” would be even a blip on my screen—I’m an adult, I’ve been independent for years, I “found” myself years ago. But here I am, a 36 year old woman, nervous about starting a new job, nervous about changing campuses, wondering if I have what it takes, and wishing money grew on trees and that I had an orchard of those trees. My mother-in-law reminds us often that our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, but I would really like the money tree right this second.

The Lord is stretching us like crazy. And I have had to relearn some lessons. One, don’t discuss finances with people unless you are interested in their well-meaning but not-always great advice (thing I’ve been reminded in this: I love friends who just listen, or who ask more questions, helping you to figure out what’s bothering you. Generally speaking, unless an individual specifically asks for advice, confidences which are accompanied by tears are not generally requests for directions). Two, even if it seems like it’s the end of the world, it’s probably not. The Lord always provides (eventually) for our needs. People fail us, don’t follow through or forget (as I know I’ve done to others as well), but He has never failed us. I cannot name an instance when He did not take care of us in an extraordinary way. When Don broke his neck, the miracles were never-ending—my late friend Billy would ask me “If God were watching out for you, wouldn’t He have prevented Don from falling off the scaffold?” To which I would reply, if that was what He was going for. But God was redirecting the entire course of both our lives and it took an event of that magnitude to get our attention. Don’s whole career changed as a result of that fall. And He showed us what the Church can really be. And He saved him miraculously from dying. That season was stretching, too, and He came through with all of the grace/elasticity that we needed.

My Dad asked this question yesterday: “How do we grow in trust in any relationship?” I believe that relationships have to be tested. I believe that the Lord allows circumstances in our lives which might inspire us to question His goodness (asking questions like, God, where are You?), and we find Him stepping right in with beauty and grace. Over and over, as an adult believer, I have found myself in the Psalms saying, “ohhhh” in a way I never did as a child in Him.

Lord, all my desire is before You; and my sighing is not hidden from You” Psalm 38:9. I am always amazed at His tenderness. All my desire is before Him…He hears my sighing… Have you ever just sighed deeply, alone, with no words to put to the heaviness in your heart? He hears it—believer and nonbeliever, He hears it all. He hears the deepest hopes, fondest wishes, most intimate longings.

But I get so angry with Him lately. And He never deserves it. I wonder what it is that is happening in my heart that He is the first person I get angry with, the first person I blame. And I grieve deeply over it and repent and recognize that His love for me remains constant. And it’s just this season--but there’s this passage in Hosea…

Come let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us…” (6:1)

He was talking prophetically about Jesus, but there is something there… I feel torn and wounded, but I sense Him bandaging me, too. I look around at my close friends and I see similar seasons in their lives: divorces, jobs lost and found, indictments, cancers and bills and lost babies…. Life happens to us, then the Lover of our souls draws us close and kisses our wounds.

And His provisions… the more tight finances become, the more miraculous small things seem (one of my leaders in YWAM used to say that we were not broke, but rather in an opportunity for financial blessing). The other night, I walked in from a meeting and noticed a dollar bill lying on the counter—this is how broke we’ve been, that I notice a dollar bill and ask him, “Hey, where’d you get that?” He smiled at me and pointed to the front yard. He’d found it. It was just lying there in the middle of the yard. It’s true that money doesn’t grow on trees, but I have a God who is a Poet and the King of all things subtle and who is able to make it fall from the sky…

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